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Are makeshift face masks protective? Here’s what you need to understand.

Springfield boutique trying to keep up with face mask orders as CDC recommends face coverings
Springfield boutique trying to keep up with face mask orders as CDC recommends face coverings

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recently recommended for people to wear face coverings.

The public has been encouraged to wear fabric masks despite original reports that doing so won’t prevent a person from contracting the virus, which is true.

Makeshift face masks do not protect the person wearing it; it protects the person from spreading it.

NPR reports the primary benefit of covering your nose and mouth is that you protect others.

If a person who is wearing a makeshift masks coughs or sneezes, those respiratory droplets are contained in the mask rather than spread to people or on surfaces.

“So it’s not going to protect you, but it is going to protect your neighbor,” Infectious Diseases expert Dr. Daniel Griffin told NPR. “If your neighbor is wearing a mask and the same thing happens, they’re going to protect you. So masks worn properly have the potential to benefit people.”

Related: Here are step-by-step instructions on how to make your own face mask

As a reminder, people should not purchase surgical masks or N95 respirators as medical professionals who most need those masks are facing a shortage.


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